UAE Fires up First Nuclear Plant in the Arab World

The UAE has successfully conducted start up operations at Barakah, the first nuclear plant in the Arab world.

Unit 1 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant has been successfully started up by Nawah Energy Company, a subsidiary of Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, state news agency WAM said.

“The teams successfully loaded nuclear fuel and carried out comprehensive tests … I congratulate my brother Mohamed bin Zayed for this achievement,” Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum earlier posted on Twitter.

Firing up one of Baraka’s units “is the most historic milestone to date in the delivery of the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program, as part of the process towards generating clean electricity for the Nation for at least the next 60 years,” WAM reported.

The start-up of Unit 1 marks the first time that the reactor safely produces heat, which is used to create steam, turning a turbine to generate electricity, it added.

Unit 1 will be ready to connect to the UAE’s electricity grid, delivering the first megawatts of clean electricity to the homes and businesses, once numerous safety tests have been conducted, Arab News writes.

“Today is a truly historic moment for the UAE. It is the culmination of more than a decade of vision, strategic planning and robust program management,” said Mohamed Ibrahim Al-Hammadi, the CEO of ENEC. “We are now another step closer to achieving our goal of supplying up to a quarter of our Nation’s electricity needs and powering its future growth with safe, reliable, and emissions-free electricity.”

The UAE is the first country in the Arab World, and the 33rd nation globally, to develop a nuclear energy plant to generate safe, clean, and reliable baseload electricity. 

The Barakah plant is significantly contributing to the UAE’s efforts to move towards the electrification of its energy sector, and the decarbonization of electricity production. 

When fully operational, the plant will produce 5.6 gigawatts of electricity while preventing the release of more than 21 million tons of carbon emissions every year, equivalent to the removal of 3.2 million cars from the UAE’s roads annually.

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